9/7: Quinn talks defense, evaluates players

With the Florida Gators preparing for their second game of the 2011 season (Sept. 10 vs. UAB), defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the Gators defense and evaluate some of Florida’s standout players.


After the game and during media on Monday, head coach Will Muschamp stressed how important turnovers were, a statement that Quinn supported Wednesday evening. “To me it’s a topic that I feel so strongly about – it’s just taking the ball away. I thought we could have had more attempts on the ball – what we call rips and strips,” he said. “On a good game, where you’re really getting a lot of attempts at the ball, I’d like to see that number drastically increase. […] We feel like there are some unique ways [to create turnovers] – maybe we see on tape where a ball carrier carries it loosely and we target that guy. Some of the tipped balls and those kinds of things [could be luck] but in the run game we feel it is something we can do better.”

Though the Gators were unable to take the ball away on Saturday, they did perform well in an area that Florida struggled with one year ago. “I didn’t think there was a lot of missed tackles out there,” he noted. “For the first time out and the first ball game, as a coach, that’s always one of the things you look to see as a defensive coach. Are these guys tackling and finishing on plays? I was encouraged by some of that.”


He may have spent his last 10 years coaching in the NFL, but Quinn also spent some time as a college coach from 1994-2000 with William & Mary, the Virginia Military Institute and Hofstra. After dealing with million-dollar salaried professional athletes who spend hours upon hours working on their game each day, he has noticed one major difference about coaching at the college level. “You have to be really creative in your meeting time. It really tests you in your preparation,” he said. “That’s kind of been one of the things that coming in I knew was going to be a challenge for me – to condense everything – and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

Quinn feels like he has been succeeding at his new role so far and is having a good time doing it. “It is a lot of fun, it really is. When you have the energy of some of these young guys – where they want to stay after, do more, come in, watch tape. There’s a lot of questions. All of us as coaches kind of see ourselves as teachers and that’s kind of why we got into it,” he said. “Not only just for the love of football but for the ability to impact some young guys and help them out. To me it’s been a lot of fun going through training camp, helping the young guys develop. […] It’s a cool feeling as a coach to see a guy come through, learn it and now put the skills to work.”


Facing so many different teams throughout the course of a season can be quite difficult on a defense – especially one in its first season under a new head coach and coordinator. Quinn realized early on that this would be an issue and believes the Gators are prepared for the obstacle. “I think each team presents unique challenges. Sometimes there is carryover. This team has as similar concept to maybe these three or four teams,” he explained. “I think that’s part of what you do in training camp without necessarily telling the players. That way there’s a little more recall maybe when you get to that type of offense when you get to the regular season, or a certain package of plays perhaps against a certain type of player.”

During training camp, Florida threw as much as possible at the players in order to expose them to plenty of looks and help with recall all season. “I think it was a hard camp. We wanted it to be both hard mentally and physically – just put the pressure on and we kept installing and kept installing knowing there was a lot in,” Quinn said. “We pull some of those clips from training camp [and say], ‘This week we’re going to play this coverage or this pressure just like we did back in training camp.’ And then when you can put it on now you say, ‘Remember this?’ And then you play it and there’s some recall there.”


The Gators notched a pair of sacks on Saturday, but Quinn obviously wants to see more pressure – especially from the defensive line that he is counting on to get to the quarterback and make him feel uncomfortable every play. “We talk about the outside guys trying to collapse the pocket on the tackles and the inside guys you’ll hear us use the [phrase] ‘push the pocket’ so the quarterback doesn’t have a chance to hitch up in the pocket,” he said.

Even if the front seven doesn’t always create sacks, there are plenty of other ways they can be effective and help out the rest of the defense. “We talk about affecting the QB every week. Sometimes it’s hits on the QB – and we don’t necessarily put a number on the sacks. How many hits we can get, how many pressures we can get, batted balls – those are things that can affect a QB,” Quinn explained. “Certainly with a talented QB, the more hits, the more pressure is certainly the formula for us.”


Nearly every player in the Gators’ secondary this season is an underclassman, and the defense is counting on them big-time to help solidify what is expected to be a productive starting front seven. Quinn knows the youth can be an issue but hopes that intense game-week preparations can help reduce some of the inexperience. “There’s good and bad with a young player. You have a fresh slate to say, ‘This is how we’re going to go about our business to play ball.’ And then the other time you’re trying to catch them up on techniques all through training camp, especially the rookies who had their first exposure in training camp,” he said. “On the back end with Travaris [Robinson] and Will working with these guys, they’ve done a terrific job getting these guys up to speed.“

He also addressed the fact that Florida started a freshman at safety in week one but said the decision was not made haphazardly. “There’s a lot of communication that goes on there. When we play those guys, we have a high level of confidence that they’re going to go in there and they’re going to be able to communicate, run the package and do it right otherwise we wouldn’t put them out there. Although they are young, we have a lot of confidence in them, we really do,” he said.


Freshman CB Marcus Roberson: “To me that’s one of the things, when you look at a corner, a guy that has speed and length with some cover ability. I think that gives you traits to be a good corner. And then if you have speed and length – and I think he’s got a little bit of football savvy to him which I like as a young guy. I think he’s got a chance to be a really good player.”

Sophomore S Matt Elam: “In Matt Elam, although he’s a sophomore, we think he’s like our biggest vet back there. I think Matt has some traits to be a really talented safety, and I’m looking forward to him.”

Sophomore CB Cody Riggs: “I’ve always loved the competitive fire of Cody.”

Junior S Josh Evans: “Josh Evan is another one who has terrific size and speed, so I’m hoping he can pull through and do some stuff.”

Freshman S De’Ante “Pop” Saunders: “The one guy that I thought has really come on – he’s changed positions during training camp – is Pop Saunders. From playing corner and safety and nickel, he’s done a good job. […] For him – going through the spring practice as a young player – made a huge difference. Think about all the experience that you gain and the practice that he gained from coming in early. That’s one player that it really benefited him coming in early because he had more of a chance to learn the defense and had some more reps at it. I’m very encouraged. Any time you have a safety that has corner cover skills, that’s really what you’re looking for.”

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finely: “I’ve always liked the energy that he brings to the field.”

Redshirt freshman LB Michael Taylor: “Mike Taylor is a guy that I think can provide some versatility, he can play in the regular package, he can play in the nickel package. I think he’s got good instincts, and he’s a player we’re hoping to develop.”

Redshirt junior defensive end Earl Okine: “As a tall guy, he’s got length, and sometimes as a defensive lineman, especially as a two-gap defensive lineman, you look for a guy who has got length who can keep the blockers off him. Earl’s a tall guy, he played with good effort, and we feel like he’s kind of developing in the system here to play both 3-4 and 4-3.”

Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley: “Dominique had a really good camp, and he’s kind of playing what we play our three – our tackle position. Sometimes he lines up all the way on the tackle, sometimes he lines up inside.”

9/7: Hammond, Bostic comment on the Gators

With the Florida Gators in the middle of preparations for their second game of the season on Sept. 10 at home against UAB, a few prominent players were made available to the media on Wednesday to discuss how the team is progressing.


Running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey got most of the praise for the offense’s dominant season opening performance against Florida Atlantic. However, as offensive coordinator Charlie Weis pointed out Tuesday and redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. confirmed Wednesday, the perimeter blocking of the pass catchers on outside runs and swing passes was also quite clutch.

“We just embraced [blocking] because [Weis has] put so much emphasis on Demps and Rainey and their speed,” Hammond said. “We know that we don’t have to hold the blocks for that long because they’ll get behind us real quick. He put emphasis on just block, letting them run, get up the field and do what they do. […]

“It’s just trusting the offense and knowing your assignment and what you have to do. When you see it happen and you see him spring and he’s going and you see the number run by you, just knowing that you blocked for your teammate and you’re doing everything to help the team win, it’s a great feeling.”


Junior mike linebacker Jon Bostic has lot to deal with game-in and game-out, but if one of his younger teammates steps up as much as he thinks he can, things could be a bit easier going forward. Redshirt freshman LB Michael Taylor, who stayed off the field in 2010 but has turned some heads so far this year, may be integral to the unit’s success going forward. “One thing about him – he attacks real well,” Bostic said. “He’s one of those guys – when he sees it, he’s just going to go. He’s got a trigger. […] He’s real important [to the team.] We tell him that every day. He’s just one play away. Anything can happen and he’s in the game. We’re going to need him as the season goes along.”

Bostic has been equally impressed with freshman fullback Hunter Joyer, whose strength and effort have already stood out to him. “Physical. He’s real physical,” he said of Joyer. “The first time I went against him, I came in the hole and I hit him, and I came back and told Jelani [Jenkins]. I said, ‘Have you hit Hunter Joyer yet?’ He’s like, ‘No.’ I’m like, ‘He didn’t move.’” After Bostic chuckled at Joyer’s strength, he explained why he is so important. “He’s quiet – goes out every day and works hard. He’s one of those guys people always look over. They see Rainey scoring, Demps scoring, but he’s that guy that puts in the extra work and gets them to the next level. “


The Gators defense held FAU to 30 net rushing yards on Saturday, a fact that Bostic said the defense took a lot of pride in when watching the film. “That’s our main focus every week – is to stop the run,” he said. “We want to get them in second-and-long, third-and-long, but that first down is where we really want to stop the run.”

However, when it came to game-changing plays in the form of turnovers, he was aware that Florida undoubtedly fell short. “Even though we held them to limited rushing yards and limited passing yards, that’s one thing we need to stress every game,” he said. “We need at least three turnovers a game. That’s our goal every game.” The Gators may have come a bit closer to that goal had Jenkins not dropped a ball that hit him in the hands. “We tell him every day that he can’t catch,” Bostic said laughing.

One thing Jenkins is succeeding at is improving his on-field communication. According to Bostic, the two veteran linebackers are so in-sync that sometimes they do not even need to say anything to each other. “The communication between us is real good, especially with me and Jelani – for some reason we may not even have to talk all the time,” he said. “I may look at him or he may look at me and it’s like I know what he’s thinking, he knows what I’m thinking. We’re trying to get communication like that between all of us.”


» Hammond on redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose’s improvement: “He looks a lot more comfortable. He’s making more plays and he’s just coming along. He’s catching the ball, making plays and knowing his assignments. He’s making an improvement. He’s been in the playbook, he’s been working, he’s been making more plays and getting more confident and it’s just carried to the games.”

» Hammond on if Weis’s teachings hold more water than other coaches he’s had: “Yeah but at the same time, if we have a correction or a dilemma, we’re not scared to go up and ask him and say, ‘Well I think this. I’ve seen this. I’ve seen that.’ He’ll break it down. He’ll coach it up. We’ll have our little disputes, but at the end of the day we’ll get it all squared away. When he says something in installs, he’s run that play forever, so I’m pretty sure he knows the ins-and-outs of it and he’s seen it work at the top level so, it works.”

» Bostic on the linebackers’ effort on Saturday: “I’d say we played pretty good. We were aggressive coming down hill. We still have a lot of things we can work on footwork-wise, technique, getting all the calls out. Overall we did pretty well.”

» Bostic on one thing that his unit can improve: “Basically just knowing what we’re doing on every play, getting more comfortable in there. Even though we may be comfortable in practice, getting under the lights and in front of another team, you start thinking a little bit more. We just have to relax when we’re out there.”

» Bostic on if Demps or Rainey ever surprise him: “Yeah. Every time. Like when Demps will break off a run, you say it every time, ‘That guy can run.’ With Rainey, you never know what to expect. He’ll put a move on you to the left or right, you never know what you’re going to get out of him.”

» Bostic on the improvement of the offense: “Our offense did keep us off the field a lot more than we were used to. […] One thing going in, we were like, ‘We were on the field forever last year.’ This year we were pissed off at them in the first half. We were like, ‘Can we play?’ I think end of the second quarter I was in like 12 plays at the most.”

Brown, Wambach, Haslem, five others will be UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductees

Eight former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Alex Brown (football), Abby Wambach (soccer) and Udonis Haslem (men’s basketball) – will be inducted as the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame‘s 2012 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Wednesday that the honors will be bestowed upon them at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 6, 2012 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are normally divided into three categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners. The remainder of the 2012 class includes Gator Greats Hazel Clark Riley (women’s track & field), Kristen Guise Lee (gymnastics), Jeff Morrison (men’s tennis) and Stephanie Nickitas (women’s tennis) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Larry Travis (football).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the break.
Continue Reading » Brown, Wambach, Haslem, five others will be UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductees

Danny Wuerffel taking it easy, still recovering

Back in June, former Florida Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel was diagnosed with and hospitalized for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which, as the Mayo Clinc puts it, “your body’s immune system attacks your nerves.”

He has been undergoing extensive treatment and rehabilitation for the disease ever since in an effort to recover from it as quickly as possible. As he continues on the road to recovery, Wuerffel has been releasing updates on his condition through Desire Street Ministries, of which he is the executive director. Below is his latest [truncated] update:

Dear Friends,

I recently took a trip back to Birmingham for a follow-up visit with my doctor. As I was driving there (or more accurately, as I was dozing in and out of sleep while Desire Street’s new intern, Kyle Combest, was driving) I recalled a conversation I had with the doctor in the middle of June.

He told me I would need to “take it real easy” to recover, which I sensed was probably a good idea as I could still barely stand at that point. But he also said it would probably take at least until August before I felt fine—a month and a half away. That seemed like an eternity, and I thought he had overshot his prognosis (I’d recovered from knee surgery in less time than that).

Well, It’s September 6 now and Guillain Barre continues to humble me.

I’ve gotten discouraged a couple times the past few weeks, wondering if this is ever going to end. I just can’t seem to predict or plan when I’ll turn into “narcoleptic boy.” Several of our family plans have been interrupted by dad’s need for an unexpected nap. It hurts to hear my boys say, “Oh man…not again dad.” And while Jessica has been a wonderful trooper this whole summer, I can only imagine how this continues to wear on her too.

But on the bright side, I am having more “good days” it seems, and on the “good days” I have more and more strength and energy. I can play a little more aggressively with my kids (we went to Stone Mountain the other day and played soccer), and I’m starting to get around pretty well.

At this recent doctor visit, he was pleased with the way my reflexes and nerves are coming back (My left leg is lagging a bit behind but he didn’t seem to be concerned), and he said the fatigue and lack of energy is normal and I’ll just have to continue managing it for a while.

All in all, I continue to be grateful for the way God is healing my body, and like many things in life, I only get frustrated when I try to manage and expedite things that aren’t under my control. In fact, I’m learning that my attempt to “control” anything is often an illusion and waste of energy. I guess 37 years of practice at “controlling things” helped me build a strong personal script for life, one that makes it difficult to let go of controlling things and begin to “trust” more in the one who can. […]

So, once again, I’m finding that my physical struggles with Guillain Barre have forced me to re-evaluate some of the ways I deal with the struggles and frustrations of life. It’s forcing me to trust in my creator, sustainer, friend and savior. It’s not easy, but it is a beautiful thing!

And I’m thankful.

God bless you,


Wuerffel has requested that any gifts, donations or letters of support be made to DSM rather than him personally. Should you wish to send any of the aforementioned, please direct them to adam@onlygators.com, and I will forward them to the appropriate contact.

9/7: Will Muschamp’s SEC teleconference

With the Florida Gators just days away from their second game of the season under head coach Will Muschamp on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the UAB Blazers, he spoke with the media during the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference to provide some insight about where his team is at going into into week two action.


Aside from his opening statement, Muschamp did not have an opportunity to discuss the Gators specifically because all questions surrounded the Texas A&M Aggies joining the SEC any day now. At the start of the call, he said freshman tight end A.C. Leonard (torn meniscus) was the only player ruled out this week but did not provide updates on some other injured players including sophomore running back Trey Burton (bruise), redshirt senior wide recevier Deonte Thompson (head), redshirt junior WR Omarius Hines (hamstring), redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) and sophomore WR Robert Clark (hamstring). He said earlier in the week that Burton, Thompson and Hines were all expected to be healthy, while Brown and Clark would be either probable or questionable depending how they performed in practice and the training room.

Muschamp was not asked about the status of sophomore defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd, though he likely would have avoided that question and provided a “no comment” reply anyway as the NCAA inquiry is ongoing.


On the future of the SEC and other conferences: “I really think we’re heading toward the 16-team leagues eventually. I think there will be four of them at some point, if you ask me personally.”

On if Texas A&M is good fit for SEC: “Their game day atmosphere is very much like the SEC. They’ve got a great backing and tradition and recruiting base is somewhat similar from the standpoint that they do go into Louisiana. When I was at LSU, we recruited against A&M a lot, especially in the southern region. I know they still continue to recruit in Louisiana, so certainly I think it’s a good fit.”

On if Texas A&M joining the SEC helps recruit Texas: “We recruit the state of Florida first of all, and then obviously our region, and if it were to happen, it would certainly help open up some things. […] We do recruit nationally from the standpoint of we’ve got a great, outstanding academic institution, we got a great tradition, and we do attract some kids maybe outside of the state of Florida who want to be Florida Gators.”

On how the SEC could be affected recruiting-wise: “If you look at LSU and Arkansas, and you think back to when Arkansas was in the Southwest Conference and the number of great players they had from the Dallas area, just because that’s where their games were played. The exposure – you’re constantly on television, you’re playing in the state, you’re getting closer to home – all of those things would certainly help those two schools and the Mississippi schools. After that, I can’t really comment on the schools on the eastern side because we really focus our recruiting closer to home here unless there’s a national kid here or there.”

9/6: Weis discusses FAU, players, philosophy

With the Florida Gators preparing for their second game of the 2011 season (Sept. 10 vs. UAB), offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss Saturday’s 41-3 victory over Florida Atlantic and the team’s upcoming game.


Redshirt senior John Brantley: “I thought he managed the team as well for an opener as you can possibly do. He had only one error that I would question his mental on the whole evening. For a first rattle out of the box, to have minimal mental mistakes at the quarterback position, that’s a very good start. I thought that he showed very good accuracy; he showed very good poise. There were a lot of things to be pleased about. Now, turning the ball over twice, that’s not what we’re looking for.”

Freshman Jeff Driskel: “He’s very, very athletic. The one thing with a young guy – I don’t encourage this from No. 12 by the way – the one thing with a young guy who is very athletic is you allow him to [tuck the ball and run]. You don’t discourage him from pulling the ball down and going because a lot of times that’s better than the alternative of them trying to force the ball down the field and have something bad happen.”


Weis believes in the mental aspect of football just as much as the physical. To this end, he has a particular method in which he likes to coach up his players while sitting on the sideline, one he has abided by throughout his coaching career.

“When I’m on the field you can sit there and just have a conversation and go over things and it’s kind of settling for [the players],” he said. “As a matter of fact, when they first come off the field, I don’t talk to them. Whether it was good or bad, I don’t talk to them. If it was good, I let the players all celebrate together so that I’m not looking for the kudos. If it’s bad at the same time the camera’s there looking to see what you’re going to say. That’s not the time. Let them get to the bench, let them go ahead and sit down. Then you come over and say, ‘OK, what were you thinking?’ And there might be an adjective or two in there.”

That is how he dealt with Driskel, who entered in the game in the second quarter and – on the first pass of his career – threw an interception. “We wanted to get him in when we felt that the game was still competitive. We weren’t looking to get him in for 20 plays. We were looking to get his feet wet, which is what we did,” Weis explained. “You couldn’t have choreographed it really any better. He comes in, he’s nervous, first time out, 90,000 people in The Swamp, it’s exciting for a kid at that position. But you saw how much more poised he looked the next time he came out there. He kind of got it out of his system. Will [Muschamp]’s plan, which I agreed with 100 percent, was, ‘Let’s try to get one of the young guys some experience so that – who knows when it’s going to be or if it’s going to happen or when it’s going to happen – you have to have the next guy ready to go.’ We didn’t want the first snaps that the backup quarterback got in a super-pressure situation.”

Speaking specifically about Saturday’s game, Weis said the turnovers were undoubtedly an issue. “When you have a minus-three turnover ratio for a game, usually you’re going to lose. That’s one of our points of emphasis [this week],” he explained. Weis added that there were three other potential turnovers during the game as the ball was put on the ground by redshirt sophomore center Jonotthan Harrison (bad snap), senior running back Jeff Demps (fumble) and redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. (ball popped out early). “Ball possession I think is a critical factor and one of the points that we’re emphasizing this week,” he noted.


Between Demps, redshirt senior Chris Rainey and junior Mike Gillislee, the Gators combined for 203 yards of rushing and gained it on 7.25 yards per carry. For the first few quarters, Florida was gaining almost all of its rushing yards on the edges but that fact did not irk Weis one bit. “Everything starts with the run game. It’s obvious we’ve got a couple of dynamic guys with the ball in their hands,” he said. “I think what people don’t understand is sometimes they get more enamored with ‘Were the yards made inside or were the yards made outside?’ versus setting up the defense. I have no problem running the ball inside and getting a couple yards a pop over and over again because it now constricts the defense and opens up the outside runs.”

Weis noted that the offensive line and tight ends played quite well throughout most of the game but one other position group really helped spring the backs into the open field. “I was exceptionally pleased with the downfield blocking with the wide receivers,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’ve challenged them [to do] – we can’t play with receivers who don’t block down the field.”

Asked how pleased he was about the performances of Demps and Rainey, Weis smiled but also said he plans to be effectively cautious with them long-term. “I tried to forewarn you of what I expected and what I expected was basically what you saw. They’re both exceptional football players,” he said. “Our job is to make sure that we utilize them enough and not too much, and I think that’s important. Because you’re going to play a 14-game season, which is what we intend to do. If you’re going to play a 14-game season, then you have to worry about the stamina of guys that aren’t 230 pounds.”


» Weis believes that only touchdowns count as successful red zone possessions. “Sixty percent touchdowns in the red zone – that’s not a good number,” he said. “People will say 80 percent with the interception, but I don’t consider a field goal in the red zone a conversion. That’s a win for the defense.”

» On redshirt freshman right tackle Chaz Green becoming a starter: “He really struggled in the spring. He was also kind of a one-man gang because you had no X[avier Nixon] for half the spring, no [Matt] Patchan for the whole spring as far as full-time go. He was like a man in his own country. Once he got into that rotation with those other guys and competition started getting better and better. He’s a very competitive person and I think the competition made him play better.”

» With Tommy West stepping in as UAB’s new defensive coordinator after a year off, Weis said he had to go back to tape of Memphis in 2009 (in addition to watching UAB’s players from last year) in order to prepare for the unknown defense he will face. “The one thing about UAB is, once again for the second week in a row, we have no evidence for sure what they’re going to do on defense,” he said. “You have two volumes of stuff right here.”

» Weis joked about Rainey’s comment that Florida only ran six offensive plays and explained that the Gators did a lot more than that during the Florida Atlantic game – even if they didn’t give away everything just yet. “First of all, [the players] don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just calling plays. They’re just running the plays,” he said. “For Rainey to try to give you an analysis of what we’re doing – that’s comical in its own right. For him, there were six plays that had No. 1 attached to it, so as far as he’s concerned, those were the only six plays that existed. He forgot about all those other ones that [No.] 1 wasn’t getting the ball. We obviously didn’t throw out the kitchen sink there, but we did enough things in there. We upped the tempo, we went in and out of modes, we went in and out of personnel groupings. There was enough for our first game right there to let them kind of get a feel for the different things that we would like to do.”

» Though he scripts anywhere from 12-24 plays for each game, Weis explained that a lot of times you have to go with the flow and change things up early on. “Sometimes you run it down just the way you have it. Now there’s been other games where it just hasn’t gone very well, where it might be after three series you say, ‘Welp, let’s scrap this and go on to something else,’” he said.

» On first downs not always being the most important thing on offense, speaking specifically about the plays after Harrison’s bad snap: “When the ball is down, unlike what everyone else is thinking, I’m not trying to get the first down. I’m trying to get into field goal range. I’m trying to get points. It’s third-and-25, we get 18 [yards], that was one of our non-conversions on third down, but to me that was a conversion because that got us points. That 18-yard comeback to Quinton [Dunbar] on the left sideline got it close enough where [Caleb] Sturgis could go ahead and get three on the board right there.”

Report: Floyd’s eligibility hearing held Tuesday

Though it has neither been confirmed by the University of Florida nor the NCAA, a hearing to determine Florida Gators sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd’s eligibility was reportedly held on Tuesday.

The Gainesville Sun’s Jeff Barlis, who spoke to Floyd’s high school head coach Ron Cohen, reports that Cohen wrote a letter describing “Floyd’s background, his character and what kind of clothing and travel expenses were paid for by Cohen and other members of Floyd’s George Washington High School community,” which was sent to UF and presented at the hearing.

“It was about an hour-and-a-half hearing,” Cohen told the Sun. “They told their side and [the NCAA] listened. Now they have to interpret it and decide how they want to react to it. There was no indication. We just have to wait and see.”

Cohen has been the only party who has spoken about Floyd’s situation and has consistently held that, to his knowledge, the player did nothing wrong in high school that should have his eligibility held in question.

Floyd, one of the nation’s top prospects, was invited to the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl but could not afford the travel costs. In an effort to help him finance the trip, his guidance counselor Dawn Seeger suggested he participate in a bake sale; it raised enough money to send him to San Antonio, TX.

“Supposedly that’s part of it,” Cohen said Tuesday. “That’s why I was questioned. I know the cookie sale was still being brought into it. But again, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I don’t know how it went. They didn’t tell me.”

While at the event, Floyd was one of three top-rated prospects (linebacker Ronald Powell, safety Matt Elam) to commit to the Gators.

Though Cohen has mentioned the bake sale specifically, the NCAA could have other concerns about Floyd’s eligibility. With everyone staying tight-lipped about the situation, more may not be known until a final decision is made – likely in the coming days.

Five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) choosing the Gators

9/6: Brantley, players talk about FAU, UAB

With the Florida Gators beginning weekly preparations for their second game on Sept. 10 at home against UAB, a number of prominent players were made available to the media on Tuesday to discuss how the team is progressing.


Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley may have played well on Saturday against Florida Atlantic (21/30 for 229 yards, touchdown) but there are also plenty of ways he can get better going forward (two interceptions). Discussing how he can do just that, Brantley said his in-game mechanics could use some adjusting. “I need to work on some footwork a little bit more – just a little different footwork in this offense,” he said. “I need to carry that over from practice to the game. It’s always a different setting in the game. You don’t really think about that as much as you should, and I just need to work on that a little bit more.”

Helping him achieve that goal is offensive coordinator (and quarterbacks coach) Charlie Weis, who Brantley is starting to get on the same wavelength as. “Some of the stuff he describes [in the film room] I can see right there with him,” Brantley said, “and even if I don’t he is able to make it easy for me to understand.” Should he need further help during the game, he can count on Weis being seated right on the bench rather than up in a box overlooking the field, something Brantley appreciates. “It’s nice [to have him on the field]. He has the people upstairs telling him what’s going on,” he said. “Having him right there and just getting the feedback from him helps me out a lot throughout the game.”


A potential weakness heading into the season, it is looking more and more like the Gators’ offensive line could be a strength for the team even it is does face depth issues. Redshirt sophomore right guard Jon Halapio explained Tuesday that having redshirt senior transfer left guard Dan Wenger in as a starter is a big-time help. “He’s the wise man of the offensive line – a sixth-year senior. He knows every call there is, and we feel really comfortable with him out there calling all the calls and just running to the ball and being a leader out there,” Halapio said. He added that Wenger made many of the line’s calls in the season opener but that the entire unit communicated and others made calls as well.

One of the reasons the offensive line has been so successful early on is the versatility of redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green. Though he started at right tackle on Saturday, Green can play on both sides of the line and does not have much of a preference either way. He made his first career start on Saturday, a fact he learned the evening before the game. “It was good to finally get my first game in and see how I felt,” he said. “I wasn’t really nervous because I was prepared. I was a little nervous but I knew after that first play I would be all right.”


Perhaps one of the most impressive players during Saturday’s game, redshirt junior sam linebacker Lerentee McCray is someone who has stood out all offseason. After moving from linebacker to defensive end upon arriving at Florida, McCray got the opportunity to move back to his old position and ensured that he won the job outright. “I’ve always been a well-conditioned guy, so running has never been a big hard task for me. Running is what I like to do. I like to run all over the field,” he said. “I just feel comfortable when I get the chance to run and tackle and hit people.”

The defense may have allowed only three points on Saturday, but McCray knows improvements can be made. “It’s always a big issue when we don’t get any turnovers. As a defense, that’s what we try to do, keep the ball in our offense’s hand,” he explained. “That’s going to be a big thing we’re going to do this week – stress turnovers, rips, picks, fumbles, stuff like that.”


» Brantley on getting the wide receivers more involved: “Absolutely. They did a great job Saturday night. We have all the confidence in the world in them and we’re just going to keep giving them the ball.”

» Brantley on not having to run the option: “It was cool. It was fun just giving the ball to our playmakers and seeing what they can do with it.”

» Brantley on redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose: “Andre Debose definitely grew up and matured a lot in the past year. He had a great camp, worked really hard, and it showed on Saturday night. Hopefully he just keeps producing like he has each week. Just working hard – he goes out there every day with a great attitude and just tries to get better each day.”

» Brantley on the seniors picking orange jerseys for the season opener: “Us seniors kind of decided on it. We’re big fans of the orange jerseys I guess. We just like them. We just think they look good.”

» Sophomore tight end Gerald Christian on Brantley’s confidence: “He seems confident to me, way [more] confident than he was last year. I feel like all this worked out a lot better for him.”

» Christian on working with redshirt sophomore TE Jordan Reed: “We both can learn from each other I think, really two different type of tight ends. He’s real athletic, I’m a bigger guy, more stronger than him, and I think we feed off each other.”

» Halapio on playing “easier” opponents at home to start the season: “I like it a lot. We like it a lot as a team. It helps us to start fast and…just get all the wrinkles out of the mistakes that we had.”

» Halapio on his jersey color preference: “Personally I don’t like the orange. I like all blue.”

» Green on the offensive line’s starters being in flux: “It’s good competition. It keeps us right in practice every week. It’s also a good thing – we got three tackles that can rotate.”

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